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Full text of "The Struggle For Peace"

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collaboration and good will. I cannot believe that such a pro-
gramme would be rejected by the people of this country,
even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with
dictators, and of talks man to man on the basis that each, while
maintaining his own ideas of the internal government of his
country, is willing to allow that other systems may suit better
other peoples. The party opposite surely have the same idea
in mind even if they put it in a different way. They want a
world conference. Well, I have had some experience of
conferences, and one thing I do feel certain of is that it is better
to have no conference at all than a conference which is a
failure. The corollary to that is that before you enter a con-
ference you must have laid out very clearly the lines on
which you are going to proceed, if you are at least to have in
front of you a reasonable prospect that you may obtain
success. I am not saying that a conference would not have its
place in due course. But I say it is no use to call a conference
of the world, including these totalitarian Powers, until you are
sure that they are going to attend, and not only that they are
going to attend, but that they are going to attend with the
intention of aiding you in the policy on which you have set
your heart.
" I am told that the policy which I have tried to describe is
inconsistent with the continuance, and much more incon-
sistent with the acceleration of our present programme of arms.
I am asked how I can reconcile an appeal to the country to
support the continuance of this programme with the words
which I used when I came back from Munich the other day
and spoke of my belief that we might have peace for our time*
I hope hon. Members will not be disposed to read into words
used in a moment of some emotion, after a long and exhausting
day, after I had driven through miles of excited, enthusiastic,
cheering people—I hope they will not read into those words
more than they were intended to convey. I do indeed believe
that we may yet secure peace for our time, but I never meant
to suggest that we should do that by disarmament, until we
can induce others to disarm too. Our past experience has
shown us only too clearly that weakness in armed strength
means weakness in diplomacy, and if we want to secure a
lasting peace, I realise that diplomacy cannot be effective